Dream No Evil – USA, 1970 – reviews

‘A nightmare of unexpected terror! Don’t go near the barn’

Dream No Evil is a 1970 horror thriller feature film written and directed by John Hayes (End of the World; Grave of the Vampire; Garden of the Dead). The movie stars Edmond O’Brien, Brooke Mills, Marc Lawrence and Michael Pataki.

Originally submitted to the MPAA as The Faith Healer, it received an ‘R’ rating. The film was subsequently edited and released as Dream No Evil with a self-imposed ‘PG’ rating.

On June 25, 2019, Dream No Evil is released by Arrow Video as part of the American Horror Project Volume 2 Blu-ray collection.

  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements
  • High Definition Blu-ray presentation
  • Original uncompressed PCM mono audio
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil
  • American Horror Project Journal Vol. II limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Stephen R. Bissette, Travis Crawford and Amanda Reyes
  • Filmed appreciation by Stephen Thrower
  • Brand new audio commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan
  • Hollywood After Dark: The Early Films of John Hayes, 1959-1971 brand new video essay by Stephen Thrower looking at Hayes’ filmography leading up to Dream No Evil
  • Writer Chris Poggiali on the prodigious career of celebrated character actor Edmond O’Brien
  • Excerpts from an audio interview with actress Rue McClanahan (The Golden Girls) discussing her many cinematic collaborations with director John Hayes

Plot:

Young preacher’s assistant Grace McDonald (Brooke Mills) goes insane and becomes lost in a murderous fantasy of her own creation…

Reviews:

“Brooke Mills does an amazing job in crafting such a complex, sad, and sympathetic character […] Most of the other actors were quite good as well, though Paul Prokop just kind of glides around aimlessly […] Michael Pataki is an absolute joy to watch.” Pat King, Dread Central

Dream No Evil manages to be constantly diverting and throws into question the nature of many of the twists typical to the repressed female psychosis films made in the wake of Repulsion. Here, even Grace seems to recognize that the question of knowing her father is a barrier to her own emotional and sexual maturity….” Eric Cotenas, DVD Drive-In

Dream No Evil is the very definition of random. One minute Grace is in a seedy motel full of passed out octogenarians, in the next she is dressed like Ann of Green Gables dancing an Irish jig while her father plays the accordion. Nothing makes any sense.” Jason McElreath, DVD Drive-In

” …has some voice-over narration that essentially gives away the game at a crucial point in the movie; you’re pretty much in on the truth of the situation before the first murder even occurs. Still, this is not to say that this movie doesn’t use some interesting approaches to telling its story, and there is a real surreal oddity that cuts through many of the scenes…” Dave Sindelar, Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

Dream No Evil is a very gentle, measured piece that’s a world apart from the typical exploitation product of the time. It takes a while for the plot to kick in […] at times it feels like a Season One episode of The Outer Limits. I think it’s a more accomplished and consistent piece than the rather jerky and fragmented (and much better known) Grave of the Vampire.” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

” …the story itself is still strange and atmospheric enough to work anyway with the actors (Pataki in particular) giving it their all […] Never a flashy director, Hayes sticks with his usual nuts and bolts visual style of static master shots for  the most part which pays off in some of the more unnerving moments…” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

“Hayes shoots most of his scenes in single wide shots, which at times creates the illusion that you’re watching a summer stock play performed by actors under hypnosis. The voice-over, which attempts but roundly fails to add clarity to the plot, wouldn’t be out of place in an Ed Wood movie.” Eric Hillis, The Movie Waffler

Dream No Evil achieves its strange disconsolate atmosphere without flamboyance. The emphasis is on feeling, with a tragic scenario in which the heroine’s struggle to find happiness is doomed because of her childhood.” Stephen Thrower, Nightmare USA

Buy: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca

“The murders are a tad on the bloodless side (again, the infernal PG rating), but there is at least one great death-by-scythe scene. Despite moments of genuine atmosphere (like the scene where O’Brien returns to life), this is just another tame 70’s psychological horror flick.” Mitch Lovell, The Video Vacuum

Main cast and characters

  • Edmond O’Brien … Timothy MacDonald – Isn’t It Shocking?
  • Brooke Mills … Grace MacDonald – Night Gallery, segment: ‘The Tune in Dan’s Cafe’
  • Marc Lawrence … Undertaker – From Dusk Till Dawn; Cataclysm; Pigs
  • Michael Pataki … Rev. Paul Jessie Bundy – Death House; Dead & Buried; Love at First Bite; et al
  • Paul Prokop … Dr. Patrick Bundy
  • Arthur Franz … John, County Psychiatrist
  • Donna Anders … Shirley (as D.J. Anderson)
  • Nadyne Turney … Orphanage Director
  • Vicki Schreck … Grace as a Child (as Vickie Schreck)
  • William Guhl … Sheriff Mike Pender
  • Pearl Shear … Mrs. Jordan, Shirley’s Landlady
  • Elizabeth Ross … Hospital Receptionist
  • Mary Carver … Policewoman
  • Jay Scott … Deputy Sheriff
  • Tony Vorno … Bum at Landfill [uncredited]

Buy Psychotronica DVD set: Amazon.com

Trivia:

The film was also released as Now I Lay Me Down to Die.

Image credits: House of Mortal CinemaThe Movie Waffler

Related:

Garden of the Dead – USA, 1972

Grave of the Vampire aka Seed of Terror – USA, 1972

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